Every baby is special, every life is important, and every Mom wants to show off her baby. For those of us who lose our babies too soon, we don’t ever get to show them off and we rarely get to say their names or tell people about them. In our country, thousands of babies are stillborn every year, roughly one every twenty minutes. There are even more miscarriages. Here on my blog, I want to remember all of the lost babies and give their parents an opportunity to show them off. These Mamas are so proud of their babies and are going to share them with us here. Since Lucy died on a Friday, I will share a new baby’s story every Friday. We honor these little lives by acknowledging their presence with us, even if it was a very short time. Do you know how these babies are loved? Do you know that each baby was cherished by their families, even if they left only after a few weeks? Do you know how these babies are missed every single day? Please pray for these families, who have to live every day without their precious children.
SEAN JUSTIN JR.
Many girls find out they’re pregnant at nineteen and look for every opportunity they can to run the other way. That wasn’t me. As I sat alone in the bathroom staring at the pregnancy test, I found a sense of pride and excitement. Don’t get me wrong, I was scared. But there was something inside of me that gave me the courage to be a mother, and I’ll always be grateful for that. My boyfriend at the time was freaked out. He didn’t know that he was ready to be a dad, not emotionally, not financially, not spiritually. He felt as though he hadn’t grown up himself, and wasn’t ready to raise a baby. We put our heads and hearts together, and at twelve weeks we sat in the dark room tapping our feet waiting for our first glimpse of the baby. He danced around and moved like he was destined to be some professional athlete. The doctor turned up the volume and we heard the fastest “boom boom boom.” As we drove away from the doctor’s office, my boyfriend grabbed my hand and told me how excited he was. He took all the pictures with him to work, and within hours I was getting “congratulations” text messages, calls, and Facebook posts. I felt on top of the world.
Morning sickness was typical, but I had a special condition known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Basically, I would vomit uncontrollably at all hours of the day. I lost my job because of my inability to function or even show up some days. I spent a great deal of time laying in bed, and sleeping to avoid the feeling of nausea. I lost ten pounds by the fifteen week mark. My dehydration had caused a kidney infection, so I was in the ER at 16 weeks, 1 day, receiving fluids. The on call doctor did an ultrasound just to “check” on our little one. She accidentally slipped and told us the sex, it was a boy. I had known all along, it was just a feeling I had. But my boyfriend cried on the way home when he found out he would have the opportunity to be the father he never had. I’ll never forget moments like that.
Week 23 is when things started to look down. I had an overwhelming feeling of heartburn, like I had swallowed something too big and it wouldn’t go away. I saw my doctor, and then a doctor in L&D, both of which told me it was typical for late second trimester. Finally, on February 21st, I went in to a different L&D after dropping off my boyfriend at work. We had planned to take a trip to Seattle as a weekend getaway, and I wanted to get one last opinion before I left. That trip to the hospital saved my life. My blood pressure was a “bit” high, so they kept me for monitoring for a few hours. Finally, my doctor stepped in and explained to me what pre-eclampsia was and feared that I may have it. She told me not to be alarmed, that it was fairly common and that I would likely hold out pregnancy until thirty seven weeks. She told the nurse to keep taking my blood pressure, and let her know if anything changed. Minutes later, the “heartburn” feeling in my chest turned to a stabbing pain and I was laying in the floor screaming in pain. The nurse rushed in and gave me a shot of morphine, but the pain wasn’t even dulled in the slightest. The doctor came in and told me I would be transported to a bigger hospital with a high-risk OB, and so my boyfriend left work and met me there.
I received magnesium treatments in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. My entire body became warm, and I had no idea what was going on. When I finally reached the hospital, I was vomiting uncontrollably. The nurse on call wouldn’t allow me to have water and I remember being so angry with her. I was pregnant! How was she going to deny me hydration?! A few minutes later an ultrasound was performed and I had several people crowded around me. Then, the room emptied and it was just my boyfriend and I. I told him how scared I was. He told me how scared he was. We joked about the kicks our little one was throwing. Then, the doctors reentered the room. They brought in several chairs and the high risk doctor (who was foreign and didn’t speak great English) said to me, “we have some not great news. you have severe onset HELLP syndrome and you will die if you don’t deliver in the next forty eight hours. our ultrasound shows that the baby is four weeks behind in gestational growth, so there is likely not much that we can do.” I immediately started crying. My boyfriend sat there awaiting the “but” or the alternative to his explanation, and then looked at me. I called my mom and she hopped on a plane to meet me the next day. I was induced that night, and about twenty four hours later, at 7:37 PM, I gave birth to our beautiful son, weighing only 14 oz. My labor was all natural, and the most painful experience of my life.
By suggestion of the priest, we named our son Sean Justin Jr, after his father. He was baptised and I held him for the final time before the nurses took him. His body was absolutely perfect. He had my nose, and my boyfriend’s eyes. He was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I still cannot believe that my body created something so flawless.
The nurse for my arrival was truly a gift from God. I’ll never forget her. Catherine. She gave me the most love, sympathy, and care that I have ever received. I’m crying now just thinking about her. She made the whole process much easier. The decisions on what to do with his body, the papers for his death certificate, the pictures of him, the molds of his hands and feet, and most importantly just coming to check on me while I cried during the night. I was on magnesium, I had a catheter, I was bleeding copious amounts, and I vomited continuously. But she never acted as though I was a burden to her. I was never scared or in pain, and she made sure of that. On the day that I was discharged from the hospital, she made a special trip in on her day off to say goodbye to me. That’s when she told me that she had lost a child as well. I will forever be grateful to have been graced by such a delightful person.
I was in the hospital for four weeks. I was very, very, ill. There were times when my doctor would take my mother and boyfriend to the side and let them know that I was possibly too sick to survive. But I pushed through and eventually made a recovery. My health has improved tremendously.
Emotionally, I have been through many stages of grief. Sadness, following the cards of grief and leaving the hospital empty handed. Helplessness, contemplating taking my own life because living despite my son’s death was unfair to him. Anger, taken out on all of the people closest to me, and on myself; who should I be mad at? Isolation; who, at 20 years old, wants to hear some girl vent about losing her baby…. nobody. And finally, wisdom. I believe that my grief cycle will only prosper from here. I have found a considerable appreciation for life and the fragile nature of it. I have witnessed first hand how quickly it can be taken away. I am so lucky to wake up everyday, and that’s how I treat life. I am so much more considerate of everyone, including strangers, because I am unaware of the battle they are facing themselves. I have changed into a completely different person, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. My son has taught me the true value of loving someone more than I love myself.
Since my loss, I have gotten engaged to my fiance’, I have moved into a new home, adopted a puppy, and worked on bettering myself. My guardian angel is looking over me in everything I do. I can feel him in the most beautiful of moments, through the rain and sunshine, the way the waves hit the shore, and in the way a song just sounds so much more beautiful. I live everyday to make him proud, and my fiance and I want nothing more than to create a life that commemorates him. We are young, but God has made us the best that we can be. My name is Taelor, I’m twenty years old, and I lost my son, Sean, to severe onset HELLP syndrome at 24 weeks.
Thank you, Taelor, for sharing your baby Sean with us. You are such a brave woman and I’m so sorry you lost him after such a hard pregnancy. He sounds so cute and perfect. I love his sweet little feet. I truly think that you will be able to help women in the future who are suffering, just like Catherine helped you.
If you would like to share your baby’s story, just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org You can share whatever you want about your baby, and you don’t have to include your name if you don’t want to. Also, I think your baby is just as important if you lost him/her at 6 weeks or at 40 weeks. Even if you never knew the sex of your baby, you might have had names picked out, a due date and lots of hopes and dreams for that child. All of that is important and is welcome here.